​TRUMP EXONERATED FOR REMOVAL OF PROTESTORS FROM LAFAYETTE PARK LAST YEAR

A report released Wednesday by the Department of Interior’s Inspector General says, U.S. Park Police and the U.S. Secret Service determined it was necessary to remove protesters from Lafayette Park last June 1, so contractors could install security fencing.  

Federal police didn’t learn of Trump’s plans to walk through the park and examine damage from a fire at St. John’s Episcopal Church until mid to late afternoon, hours after they had begun planning for the security fencing, and the contractor had arrived in the park, the report says.

The report also said that officers had already planned to put up a fence and began developing plans to clear protestors, who were demonstrating following the police killing of George Floyd, before 10:00 a.m. on the day of the incident.

The report concludes that federal police did not clear protestors from the park so that then President Donald Trump could walk to a nearby church for a photo op. 

Former President Trump claimed exoneration after the report on Wednesday determined that his plans to walk through Lafayette Square did not influence the officers’ decision to clear protesters out of it last year, something Trump has claimed from the beginning.

“Thank you to the Department of the Interior Inspector General for completely and totally exonerating me in the clearing of the park,” Trump said in a statement, Wednesday. 

“As we have said all along, and it was backed up in today’s highly detailed and professionally written report, our fine Park Police made the decision to clear the park to allow a contractor to safely install antiscale fencing to protect from Antifa rioters, radical BLM protestors, and other violent demonstrators,” the former president added.

The report ultimately determined that Trump’s plan to visit the park did not influence the officers’ decision to clear it, shortly before he crossed Lafayette Square for a photo-op at the nearby church with a Bible in hand.

The report did identify some issues with the incident, including a determination that protesters were not adequately warned and a lack of communication to some law enforcement officials that using chemical irritants had not been authorized.

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